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All of the men had fought together before, and their leader had been John Clarke. I saw the Brooklyn Bridge out the window.
John immediately handed me a compact German pistol, and I released the magazine and confirmed the chamber was empty before reinserting the magazine and racking the slide, chambering a live round. I made sure the safety was fully engaged before screwing in the long silencer. The sleek pistol didn’t use a tilting-barrel action, like the Glock, so there were no reliability issues with an attached silencer. John Clarke obviously knew his firearms.
“I will tell you what to do. Only I will enter the building, and you guys will pull back. Also, you will be immediately paid after this job is done, but if you want to earn more money…”
“What do you want us to do?”
“You and another one come with me, and others will wait around the building and prepare in case we fail.”
I could not underestimate him at any cost. There were so many variables because I had no way of knowing his specs. His powers had been famous from the beginning, and his growth rate was faster than any other hunter.
I had to finish this before he became stronger, and today was the day.
“How much are we allowed?”
“You can kill.”
Everyone was calm like they had expected this, and all of them just checked their firearms.
“He was judged not-guilty, and if we have to go to court, we will need to memorize the same stories, to credibly claim self defense. Also…”
John Clarke was looking in the back mirror and spoke like he was confessing, reassuring the operative who was thinking out loud.
“If you have no one to go with you to court, we will provide someone.”
“Who is it?”
I heard a voice saying he would go to court with anyone who needed his help, and I assessed that they had prepared realistically for situations like this. The voice was not a lawyer. Anyway, he’d be unable to represent any member of the team if they got arrested, as he was at the scene of the incident. No, these men were used to operating outside of the law, and they were completely unprepared for the criminal justice system. The voice would help them with their stories, and remind them of the massive bonus they would get if they kept their mouths shut. They would also serve as contacts between any caught operatives and John Clarke.
“Call me Tiboy.”
“Then you, John, and I will go and do not underestimate him because he is young. If things go well, you will get rewards beyond your expectations, but the opposite is also true.” I picked the most relaxed of the operatives in the car, as he seemed best prepared, along with John of course.
My warning was sincere, as this was like the contract I had given to Yeonhee Woo. No one would believe how dangerous the First Evil was, so I did not refuse their offer to help. I heard the sound of firearms clicking, as safeties were disengaged, and their silent tension felt good. They all were focused on the mission rather than themselves, and we were heading to the battlefield.
We parked near an alley, and it seemed that the spot had been decided before as a man approached the driver’s side window.
“The cat is in the house.”
He then focused on his earphone and added that the First Evil was writing something on a desk.
“Everyone waits in ambush around the building except for the observer, and we kill the cat if it escapes.”
John handed me an earphone after issuing his order, and we got out of the car after putting on masks. We had removed the car license plates and anything else that may reveal our identity, but the reason was not what John Clarke would be thinking of.
They would be thinking of getting caught by the authorities, but I was thinking of if the mission failed. If the First Evil escaped, he must not know who ambushed him. I went in front, as I had already been briefed about the building structure, and he was in an old house he rented monthly. John and Tiboy followed me, and I saw scenes from the atrocities he had committed in his previous life, which I did not want to remember.
I had a chance to end all of them today, and even if he had not done them yet, it was much better to prevent all of them. When we were about to enter the third floor, where the First Evil was, I exchanged glances with the two veterans.
John also had a pistol equipped with a silencer and waited for my orders. I said with my eyes that he should not shoot through the door, as we had to make absolutely sure of the kill.
Johan looked at me in surprise as I turned the locked doorknob with my bare hand, and I sheared the steel bolts holding the door locked by simply rotating the knob with E rank strength, quieter than using a wrecking bar or sledgehammer, and faster than picking the lock. We were in, and we quietly entered his nest.
The First Evil could not abide a mess even now, as the old house was neatly organized.
<The cat has gone into the bathroom attached to the master bedroom, and we cannot see whether the bathroom door is open. We can hear the water flow.>
We were guided by a man observing from the same floor of the opposing residence. The bedroom door was open, and I only could see a bare bed and documents and paper on the table.
However, the sound of water running was loud to my ears, and while there was the possibility that his neat freak tendencies may make him take a shower in the middle of writing something, the timing was too coincidental.
He must have somehow sensed intruders, but without an Awakened sensing skill, he had no way of knowing we were inside his house. I signaled John and Tiboy to pull the trigger on sight.
I was going to riddle him with bullets, and it was at that moment I saw his body silhouetted in the bathroom doorway. I shot twice at his head.
I saw his head snap back, and while my shot was good, I knew immediately he had not died. I saw a bright flash, which I recognized as a damage-absorbing barrier of at least C class.
“Shoot! Destroy that barrier!”
I shouted at the two men and shot through the System message window. The two men also shot, but the First Evil did not go down, only his barrier flashing with every hit. Finally, all three guns were empty, and I saw through the mask John’s shock.
While the First Evil’s barrier was still up, at least he was stumbling, and this was my chance. I dropped the pistol and sprinted as hard as I could to close the distance, as the barrier flickered for a moment.
[You have used Devi’s Blade.]
The attack crashed against the barrier, and he was thrown down. He was dazed enough to ignore the tiles falling down on him, and this was time to kill him.
[You have used the Vitality Earrings.]
[Your stamina level went up a level.]
I took out something from my coat, and blue sparks flashed.
[You have used Odin’s Wrath.]
[Target: A survival knife from a New York store.]
It took me three steps to reach him and stab him in the neck, and I met his eyes for a moment. His cold eyes told me that he had memorized my eyes. I felt that my blade was being blocked, and a power I could not endure with an E class strength came out from his body.
[The effect of Odin’s Wrath has been forcefully cancelled.]
Only the knife’s handle remained, the blade melted trying to attack his barrier, and I saw that he had two insignias visibly imprinted on his exposed skin. I knew what they were, and they were for Area Control and Teleport!
My items were of a lower rank, so I could not use anything, and I just punched him in the nose with all of my anger. His chin broke, and an eyeball burst as the barrier had completely gone down. It was then he used his hand to block my second punch, as he now could use his Man Who Overcame Adversity.
That meant he was near death, but he stared at me like a predator with his remaining eye. It seemed like he would not use his teleport insignia yet, as he still had something to say.
“I found you again.”
Those were his first words to me.
Edited by Userunfriendly